Bolton Wanderers: Laurence Bassini 'close' to deal to buy Championship club

Bolton Wanderers
Bolton's home game against Ipswich on Saturday has been cleared to go ahead after initial safety concerns

Ex-Watford owner Laurence Bassini has said he is "very close" to taking over Championship side Bolton Wanderers.

The club appeared in the High Court on Wednesday over an unpaid tax bill and Bassini was reported to be present.

Bolton have endured a torrid time, with staff and players sometimes paid late.

"Two or three things need to be checked, but we're very close in this coming week," Bassini told Talksport, adding that Wanderers fans could "feel safe" with him as the club's owner.

"Bolton are a great, great club. I looked at them a couple of years ago - they're just a great club, they deserve more. They have the potential to return to the top.

"I don't know whether we'll survive this season - if we do go down we'll be putting a large sum of money in to take them straight back up.

"If they go down it's a three-year plan, if they stay up it's a two-year plan to get in the Premier League."

Bassini, who took over at Vicarage Road in 2011 before selling to the Pozzo family a year later, was previously given a three-year ban from being involved in a position of authority with any English Football League club in 2013.

The punishment came after he was found guilty of misconduct and dishonesty over financial dealings during his time with the Hornets.

"I think the Bolton fans deserve more and they need to feel safe. I think they can feel safe with me," added Bassini, who also confirmed that he attended Bolton's win at Queens Park Rangers last Saturday.

Bassini's planned takeover has capped another eventful week for the club, whose players refused to train for 48 hours when staff were not paid their salaries on time for the second month in a row.

As well as their appearance in the High Court, which resulted in a second adjournment until 8 May, Bolton's home game against Ipswich on Saturday was thrown into doubt when the club were given a prohibition order preventing supporters from entering the University of Bolton Stadium.

The Ipswich game, as well as next week's fixture against Middlesbrough, was eventually given the go-ahead following a meeting of the region's Safety Advisory Group, and staff later received their salaries but March's wages to playing and coaching personnel have still not been paid.

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